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Examples of Intrinsic Motivation and Extrinsic Motivation



Just what is intrinsic motivation? And what are the examples of intrinsic motivation? Well, as the name implies, intrinsic motivation is the opposite of extrinsic motivation. That latter type of motivation comes from outside of you. But intrinsic motivation comes from within.

Intrinsic vs Extrinsic Motivation

So, to understand intrinsic motivation, it may help to think of it as - inspiration. And we could say that extrinsic motivation is "instigation" instead!

You see, when you are extrinsically motivated, you are doing something that you may very well not want to do, or not be all that interested in. What you're doing is like a chore. But examples of intrinsic motivation will always be labors of love.

Examples of Extrinsic Motivation

Perhaps you are studying something in college that you really find boring or just don't care about, but you do want to get good grades. Or, perhaps you take a job in sales because there is potential for some very high commissions, but you actually hate sales. These are instances of extrinsic motivation.

Sometimes, most of us must admit, we also do not do things that we would like to do, because doing so would mean we broke the law and we could be penalized for that; not driving our car as fast as we may like is a good example of this. This avoidance would be extrinsic motivation as well.

Examples of Intrinsic Motivation

So, examples of intrinsic motivation would be quite different from these. These would be things like:

  • Studying something on your own because you desire to know that subject matter. You may not be doing this for any class or for any grade.

  • Starting your own online business because you love the particular products that are in your target market. Even though you are hoping to make money this way, you are motivated by your desire to build a business that you can be proud of and immerse yourself in.

  • Competing "against yourself" in a sport just because you want to get better at it. You may not be doing it to win any trophies, or trying to become a professional athlete.

  • Writing poetry to express your innermost thoughts and feelings, even though you may not be attempting to sell a book or publish for money.

  • Doing something just because you think it's the right thing to do, not because you hope to get a reward or avoid punishment.

Now as the above examples of intrinsic motivation show, you might be doing something in the hopes of winning awards, earning money, or getting a good grade in a class; but unlike with extrinsic motivation, that's not your primary motivation. Intrinsic motivation always involves you doing something that you desire to do for yourself. You would do it even if you were not going to be paid, get an award, or get a grade for it.

Why is Intrinsic Motivation Important?

Understanding intrinsic motivation can help you escape a life or career of drudgery and misery, as you seek out ways of earning money that you also enjoy doing. You don't take that sales job that you hate, just to put bread on your table.

If you're a teacher, you can find ways of keeping your subject "alive" and interesting for your students, getting them more immersed in learning instead of just memorizing things to pass a test and forgetting them later.

Intrinsic motivation is powerful!


A good way to enhance your intrinsic motivation is to listen to self hypnosis audios, specifically aimed at increasing your self motivation.

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